“All phenomenal are processes, connections, all is in flux. and at moments this flux is actually visible: one has only to open the mind in meditation or have the mind screens knocked awry by drugs or dreams to see that there is no real edge to anything, that in the endless interpenetration of the universe, a molecular flow, cosmic energy shimmers in all stone and steel as well as flesh.

The ancient intuition that all matter, all “reality” is energy, that all phenomena, including time and space, are merely crystallizations of mind, is an idea with which few physicists have quarreled since the theory of relativity first called into question the separate identities of energy and matter. Today most scientists would agree with the ancient Hindus that nothing exists or is destroyed, things merely change shape or form; that matter is insubstantial in origin, a temporary aggregate of the pervasive energy that animates the electron. And what is this infinitesimal non-thing—to a speck of dust what the dust speck is to the whole earth?…

“Do we really know what electricity is? By knowing the laws according to which it acts and by making use of them, we still do not know the origin or the real nature of this force, which ultimately may be the very source of life, and consciousness, the divine power and mover of all that exists….”

The cosmic radiation that is thought to come from the explosion of creation strikes the earth with equal intensity from all directions, which suggests either  that the earth is at the center is of the universe, as in our innocence we once supposed, or that the known universe has no center.  Such an idea holds no terror for mystics; in the mystical vision, the universe, its center, and its origins are simultaneous, all around us, all within us, and all One…

“I am everywhere and in everything: I am the sun and stars. I am time and space and I am He….” When there is no past and no future,  and I am eternal existence, then where is time?”

In the Book of Job, the Lord demands, ‘Where was thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?  Declare, if thou hath understanding!  Who laid the cornerstones thereof, when the morning  stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?’

“I was there!”—surely that is the answer to God’s question. For no matter how the universe came into being, most of the atoms in these fleeting assemblies that we think of as our bodies have been in exis¬tence since the beginning. What the Buddha perceived was his identity with the Universe; to experience existence ill this way is to be the Buddha. Evens the brilliant “white light” that may accompa¬ny mystical experience (the “inner light” attested to by Eskimo shamans) might he perceived as a primordial memory of Creation. “Man is the matter of the cos¬mos, contemplating itself,” a modern astronomer has said;  another points out that each breath we take contains hundreds of thousands of the inert, pervasive argon atoms that were actually breathed in his lifetime by the Buddha, and indeed contain parts of the “snorts, sighs, bel-lows, shrieks”  of all creatures that ever existed or will ever exist. These atoms flow backward and forward in such useful but artificial constricts as time and space, in the same universal rhythms,   universal breath as the tides and stars, joining both the living and the dead in that energy which animates the universe. What is changeless and immortal is not individual body-mind but, rather, that Mind which is shared with all of existence, that still¬ness, that incipience which never ceases because it never becomes but simply IS.

This teaching, still manifest in the Hindu and Buddhist religions, goes back at least as far as the doctrine of Maya that emerges in the Vedic civilizations and many well derive from much more ancient cultures; Maya is Time, the allusion of the ego, the stuff of individual existence, the dream that separates us from a true perception of the whole. It is often likened to a scaled glass vessel that separates the air within from the clear and unconfined air all around, or water from the all-encompassing sea. Yet the vessel itself is not different from the sea, and to shatter or dis¬solve it brings about the reunion with all universally life that mystics seek, the home-going, the return to the lost paradise of our “true nature.”

Today science is telling us what the Vedas have taught mankind for three thousand years, that we do not see the universe as it is. What we see is Maya, or Illusion, the “magic show” of nature, a collective hallucination of that part of our consciousness which is shared with all of our kind, and which gives a com-mon ground, a continuity, to the life experience. According to Buddhists (but not Hindus), this world perceived by the senses, this relative but not absolute reality, this dream, also exists, also has meaning; but it is only one aspect of the truth….

See Peter Matthiessen on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Matthiessen